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  • Author: Andrea Peinhopf
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: In this paper I explore the situation of ethnic minority women in Georgia, focusing on gender -based violence, economic empowerment and political participation. Importantly these are not distinct topics, but interrelated phenomena: domestic decision-making structures and violence are the main obstacles to increased female participation in the political and economic spheres. Conversely, women's second-rate role here has diminished their ability to become financially independent and publicly recognized, which could strengthen their domestic position. Over the past years the Georgian government has introduced several legal measures directed at alleviating some of the problems Georgian women encounter and strengthening their position in society, including the National Action Plan on Gender Equality (2011-2013), the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2012-2015), as well as action plans on domestic violence (2011-2012), and trafficking in human beings (2011-2012). However, according to the UN Gender Thematic Group, consisting of domestic and international organizations with a gender focus, implementation of the national action plans has been uneven, with the National Action Plan on Gender Equality significantly lagging behind.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Tobias Akerlund
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: In recent years Georgia has seen positive developments on the policy level as well as on the ground concerning media. The Law on Broadcasting already obliged the Georgian Public Broadcaster to highlight the concerns and issues of relevance to minorities, in addition to airing programs in minority languages. To improve the situation for minorities in Georgia, The National Concept for Tolerance and Civil Integration was adopted in 2009 and contains provisions to remedy deficiencies with regard to media. Despite these positive developments, however, access to information remains an impediment to integration into wider society as Georgia‟s minority communities are largely distanced from mainstream media due to a lack of quality information in the languages they understand.
  • Topic: Non-Governmental Organization, Mass Media, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Jiayi Zhou
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: In the two decades after independence, Georgia's open economy and lax immigration policies have engendered, for the first time, immigration from far outside of the region. On the streets of Tbilisi, the most conspicuous of these migrants are from India, China, and the countries of Africa. Of those from India, a substantial number are students of medicine, or enrolled in other professional courses. Africans in Georgia are mostly driven by work opportunity with a few students in higher education institutions. Chinese immigrants, on the other hand, are almost entirely driven by economic opportunities. A modern Chinese presence in Georgia began in the 1990s with the beginning of Chinese state-owned investment ventures in the region, as well as a burgeoning restaurant scene. In 2000s, this expanded to encompass a trickle and then an influx of Chinese migrant shop owners and market vendors. The third wave of migration occurred in 2010 as a result of contract construction workers. As of today, there are around 1,000 Chinese now divided into five groups: specialists, businessmen, shopkeepers, contract workers, and those in the restaurant and catering sector. This paper will focus on the history of Chinese migrants in Georgia, driving causes, their level of integration (or lack thereof), vulnerabilities, and their status in Georgian society. It will also cover increasingly large-scale economic ventures in the country, the status of Chinese as a foreign language in Georgia, and the role of the PRC Embassy in the Chinese community.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Immigration, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Asia, Georgia
  • Author: Thomas Liles
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: While Adjara's Islamic identity has been in decline, the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) has increased its presence in Adjara's capital Batumi and western lowlands since the 1990s. Today Islam retains a strong presence primarily in the republic's eastern highlands (upper Adjara), specifically in the Khulo district and to a lesser extent in the more rural areas of the Shuakhevi and Keda districts. With financial support from the state, the GOC maintains a growing presence in upper Adjara, and conversions to Christianity in the area are becoming more common. Simultaneously, certain segments of the region's Muslim population express dissatisfaction with perceived state discrimination, mainly resulting from the lack of state funding for local Islamic institutions and the difficulties of legally registering such institutions. With the creation of the new Administration of Georgian Muslims (AGM) in May 2011 and the passage of a new law on the registration of minority religious groups in July 2011, this discontent may well subside. However, it is still too early to tell whether these laws will have a significant effect in upper Adjara.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Conor Prasad
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: In early May 2011, an Administration of Georgian Muslims (AGM) was established. Although founded with government help and by government officials, it is officially a non-governmental organisation (NGO) whose aim is to manage and address problems and issues affecting Georgia's diverse Muslim population. The new administration replaces the semi-independent, Baku-based Caucasus Board of Muslims (CBM) which until recently was the governing body for Georgia's Muslims.
  • Topic: Islam, Governance, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Giorgi Sordia
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: Since the 'Rose Revolution' in November 2003, significant reform has taken place in Georgia. The new Georgian government led by Mikheil Saakashvili, eager to push forward the process of reform and enhance the pace of integration with Euro-Atlantic structures and institutions, has taken a range of important steps to develop the institutional arrangement of government. A number of key ministries have been radically reformed, including the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Education and Science. Structural reform is also ongoing in many other ministries and state bodies.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Jonathan Wheatley
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: Georgia is a multilingual and multi-ethnic society. A large number of minority languages are spoken in Georgia, including Abkhazian, Ossetian, Azeri, Armenian, Russian, Ukrainian, Kurmanji (Kurdish), Chechen (Kist), Ottoman Turkish, Pontic Greek, Syriac, Avar, Tsova-Tush and Udi. In addition, four distinct languages are spoken by the majority Georgian population -- Georgian, Megrelian, Svan and Laz -- although these are basically vernacular languages that are not normally written. According to Article 8 of the Georgian constitution, the official state language is Georgian, and in Abkhazia, also Abkhazian. Most minority languages are spoken only in certain regions of the country.
  • Topic: Politics, Multiculturalism, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, Syria
  • Author: Jonathan Wheatley
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: This paper aims to explore the extent to which national minorities in the Georgian provinces of Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti are integrated into the economic and political life of Georgia and to investigate how government policy in the aftermath of the Rose Revolution of November 2003 has affected the relationship between the state and minority communities in these two regions. It is divided into eight parts. First I provide a general overview of the main characteristics of the population of the two provinces in terms of ethnicity and language use. The second part turns to the economy of the two regions, focusing on both agricultural and industrial production. The next section turns to state-society relations by showing how government policy in the fields of education, local government, infrastructure and economic development has impacted upon the integration of national minorities in the two provinces. The fourth section explores in greater depth the modes of local governance in the two municipalities of Samtskhe-Javakheti (Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda, collectively known as Javakheti) and the five municipalities of Kvemo Kartli (Gardabani, Marneuli, Bolnisi, Dmanisi and Tsalka) in which members of national minorities are concentrated, by identifying the main power brokers in these municipalities and by looking at how local power structures have changed in the last five years. The following part focuses on the process of migration and includes both permanent migration of Georgians and members of national minorities within Georgia and to destinations beyond the country's borders, as well as seasonal migration abroad. The sixth part deals with the issue of land distribution, which has been a contentious one in both provinces. The seventh section is the final substantive part of the paper; it takes the "view from below" by looking at the most salient issues from the point of view of members of national minorities that live in the two provinces. The paper then closes with a short conclusion.
  • Topic: Politics, Governance, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Georgia
  • Author: Giorgi Sordia
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: As a result of the August war of 2008, the demographic situation in South Ossetia has been entirely altered. After the Georgian authorities lost administrative-territorial control over the Didi and Patara Liakhvi gorges and Akhalgori district, the majority of the population of these territories, including the entire population of Didi and Patara Liakhvi, were forced to leave their homes. The demographic structure of districts adjoining the conflict zones was also affected. As of September 2008, internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the conflict zone (including districts of Shida Kartli) numbered more than 127,000 in total. After the ceasefire agreement between Russia and Georgia was signed and Russian troops removed from the region, a large number of those forcibly displaced outside the administrative borders of the former autonomous region of South Ossetia returned home. However, the entire ethnic Georgian population of Didi and Patara Liakhvi, as well as several thousand Georgians from Akhalgori districts, remain displaced. The Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia has granted them the status of IDPs and housed them in 38 specially constructed cottage settlements. According to official figures from the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation, the number of IDPs from the August war (excluding those displaced from Upper Abkhazia) currently stands at 24,729.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Georgia, South Ossetia
  • Author: David Szakonyi
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The Romani community is the most marginalized and disadvantaged ethnic community in Georgia. Although accurate estimates are hard to establish, the population is thought to number up to 1,500 persons, living in multiple small settlements across Georgia. Extreme poverty, unemployment, lack of education and health care, and isolation from larger society comprise several of the major problems the community as a whole is facing. The overall situation for the Roms in Georgia has significantly deteriorated since the Soviet period, leaving the population practically devoid of any means to lift themselves out of their often devastating circumstances.
  • Topic: Education, Ethnic Conflict, Health, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Soviet Union, Georgia
  • Author: Hedvig Lohm
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: Javakheti is situated in the South-East of Georgia, and is densely inhabited by Georgia's second largest national minority, Armenians. In most respects, Javakheti has been more dependent on Russia (in socio-economic terms) and Armenia (in cultural terms) than on its proper state, Georgia, since Georgia gained independence in 1991. Throughout the 1990s the region was often described as a 'potential hot-spot', yet another possible breakaway region in the Caucasus. This working paper will look into whether the situation has started to change in terms of whether Javakheti is now closer to becoming an integrated part of Georgia, given that territorial unity has been one of the main priorities of the Georgian government since the 'Rose Revolution' of 2003. The aim of this paper is thus to create a better understanding of the challenges that Javakheti faces, in order to facilitate an informed debate on the current situation and the future development of the region.
  • Topic: Government, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Armenia, Georgia
  • Author: Denika Blacklock
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The Meskhetian Turks are one of the last of the national groups of the Soviet Union deported by Stalin in 1943–44, who have not yet been able to return to their native region (in southwest Georgia). Currently numbering some 370–400,000 people, the Meskhetian Turks, following pogroms and multiple displacements, find themselves scattered across vast territories of Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and, most recently, the United States. In some of these countries, the Meskhetian Turks are exposed to ethnic persecution and discrimination, while Georgia, so far, has effectively blocked resettlement to their native region. International actors seeking to address these problems encounter severe difficulties in finding solutions, inter alia, due to a lack of consistent knowledge on the Meskhetian Turks' own perceptions of their displacement and their visions for future settlement.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Soviet Union, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Jonathan Wheatley
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: This working paper is a consolidated and condensed analysis of a longer field report originally carried out as part of ECMI's action-oriented project “Defusing interethnic tension and promoting regional integration – the Javakheti Region of the Republic of Georgia”. Both the original field report, and this resulting analysis aim to provide an insightful overview of current the social, economic and political situation in two rayons (districts) of Georgia; Akhalkalaki rayon and Ninostminda rayon; which together combine to form a geographical area better known as the Javakheti Region in southern Georgia. By identifying and providing information about the current problems impeding the regional integration of Javakheti, this working paper will act as a guide for defining priorities and ensuring more informed intervention in the area.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Natalie Sabanadze
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus represents one of the most diverse and conflict-ridden regions in the world. It includes the three former Soviet states Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as numerous ethnic minorities and small nations within these states. The term South Caucasus is relatively new and has been used to replace the older term Transcaucasia. According to Valery Tishkov, there is a strong drive of national elites to separate the region from Russia and dismantle old ties to the point of changing names. "It is noteworthy," wrote Tishkov, "that the historical name of the region Transcaucasus has been questioned by the proponents of new political correctness who wish to create a mantle distance from Russia. Consequently, the region is being renamed the South Caucasus" (Tishkov 1999:4). It is, however, worthy of mention that the earlier name Transcaucasus (Za Kavkazye in Russian) reflected the Russian geographical position and literally meant 'beyond or behind the Caucasus', as the three republics were seen from the northern perspective of Russia. Recently, the term South Caucasus has came into use in order to more accurately describe the region and as Tishkov rightly points out, to de-link it from Russia.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia